It’s more than easy to go to any supermarket and buy a regular chemical cleaner. But commercial products with big labels and even bigger names (usually starting with Mega, Power, Heavy Duty), sold over the counter might be risky to you and your family’s health. There are many reports of allergic reactions and other complaints every year. So, here is a short collection of recipes for easy to prepare at home alternatives, which are not caustic, neither expensive, but will still get the cleaning job done.
For Natural Kitchen Cleaning
Green all-purpose cleaner
Having a very good and mild all-purpose cleaner is of top importance. After all, there are many types of surfaces in our kitchens, and we need something, which would be able to clean and disinfect them all without damaging the specific material the surface is made from. Preparing such a solution seemed like an impossible mission at first, but after some research, I found this great recipe for an all-purpose cleaner, which is perfect for almost every surface. It’s a citrus cleaner, so you’ll also get a very nice smell from the whole thing.
So, all you need is some salt, orange peels, vinegar and water. First, cut the orange peels and fill a glass container with them. Then add some salt to them and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This will extract the oils out of the orange and make the solution stronger. Then fill the container with equal parts of water and vinegar. Put a lid on the container and let this solution sit for two or three weeks. After that, you can pour it into a spray bottle and use it.
Homemade oven cleaner
I must admit that I used to clean my oven quite rarely. It was just one of those most unpleasant cleaning chores, which I liked to avoid at all cost. Also, most of the standard oven cleaners contain a thing called sodium hydroxide, which can practically burn your skin while you attempt to clean your oven and stove with it. But then I discovered the cleaning powers of baking soda, and now nothing can stand between me and the clean oven.
Turns out that all you need to do to achieve a clean oven is to spread lots of baking soda inside the oven, and then sprinkle it with vinegar. The whole thing will start fizzing, and it needs to stay there for at least half an hour, to dissolve all the dirt. After that, you’ll have to scrub a little to remove the rest of the dirt. When you’re done, rinse everything with water. The same trick can be used to clean a greasy barbecue.
Natural drain cleaner
Cleaning the drain should be a very important part of the whole kitchen cleaning routine because the kitchen drain contains lots of food particles and other types of dirt, which can start rotting and producing a bad smell. Fortunately, there is a very simple answer to all such problems. All you’ll need is some baking soda, half a cup of vinegar and some boiling water. First, get the vinegar and sprinkle it down the drain. Then get the baking soda and pour it inside on top of the vinegar. It will start fizzing and dissolving all the dirt. After about an hour, you can get a kettle filled with boiling water and pour it inside the drain. This will finish the disinfection process and wash off all the dirt.
Homemade soft scrub
Nobody likes scrubbing. It takes lots of effort and powers we don’t possess. But with this soft scrub, the scrubbing is a lot easier and more effective. All you need is to mix some baking soda with some laundry soap and grapefruit seed extract until you create a paste. Then apply it to the surface you need to scrub and remove all the dirt from it with ease. The paste also has a very nice citrus smell, thanks to the grapefruit seed extract.
Green Cleaning for Surfaces Around the House
A DIY floor cleaning solution
Most home cleaners can be made of ingredients you already have somewhere in your kitchen. And this first recipe is a wonderful example.
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- A bucket
- Warm water
- A mop
Get the vinegar, measure one cup of it and add it to a small bucket (4-5 litres). Fill the bucket with water, preferably warm, as warm water is better in dissolving oils and dirt stuck to the floor. Grab the mop and enjoy the non-toxic and efficient cleaning solution. The vinegar mixture is perfect for all kinds of wooden floors and most tiles, except those expensive and porous ones, like limestone. And if you have carpets, you can find some cool maintenance tips here.
Natural glass cleaner
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups household ammonia
- Spray bottle
Vinegar is unavoidable here, too. Blend one part of it plus three parts of ammonia together. Add just enough water to fill the whole sprayer – you can use an old plastic bottle of a commercial window cleaning product. Of course, you’ll still have to give it a good shake prior to applying. Have in mind that even though household ammonia is a natural cleaner, it still smells very strongly, and it’s recommended to use it in a ventilated room only. We can’t avoid it for cleaning windows, because it’s perfect for removing smudges and dirt from the outdoor glass.
- 2 cups bicarbonate soda
- Mild dishwashing liquid (enough to make a paste)
Tough job? Need to remove stubborn stains from a metal surface? No problem. When elbow grease is not enough, you can rely on the following fix to ease your scrubbing experience. Just take a bowl and put a good amount of bicarbonate of soda in it and spray some mild dishwashing cleaner over it to form a paste. You can apply it straight on any dirty surface, that allows rubbing.
DIY wood polish
Most wood polishers have a powerful smell or are too greasy, and they leave an unpleasant residue on the surface. It’s tricky to clean wood, because water is not good for it, and you can easily cause scratches if you have to scrub something off.
Not many people know that olive oil is the perfect wood polish, and in combination with some white vinegar, it will remove all kinds of stains without damaging the furniture. All you’ll need is 5 spoons of olive oil, half a cup of vinegar and 1 cup of distilled water. Mix those in a spray bottle, spray on a soft cloth and wipe the wooden surface. Never spray directly onto the wood, because this can leave smudge marks.
Green Bathroom Cleaning Solutions
Cleaning shower doors
Shower doors get a lot of soap scum on them and after some time they become white and covered with a solid layer of soap leftovers. However, there’s an easy way to deal with it. All you need is equal parts of white vinegar and strong grease-cutting dish soap. Heat the vinegar a little, so the dish soap can dissolve quickly. Pour both ingredients into a spray bottle, spray both sides of the glass shower door with it, leave it to work for at least 30 minutes and then rinse it with water. After that dry the panels with a microfibre cloth, to avoid any streaks. Avoid using this solution if your shower tiles are from natural stone, as vinegar can damage them.
For easier regular maintenance, apply some lemon oil over your shower doors every week. It will prevent soap scum from building up in the first place.
A green tile cleaning solution
There is a very easy way to clean your tiles without the need to scrub like crazy or expose yourself to dangerous fumes produced by conventional cleaners.
Just mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, and add a few spoons of baking soda. Let it fizz a little and then spray the tiles with the solution. The vinegar is a strong degreasing agent, and the baking soda will allow you to scrub off any difficult to clean stains. These two ingredients also eliminate unpleasant smells, so you won’t have to worry about adding a fragrance later. For better results, leave the mixture to work on the tiles for a few minutes.
Hard water stain remover
For most homeowners, hard water stains mean a lot of scrubbing and maybe permanent marks in their bathrooms. However, there is an easy DIY mixture, which will dissolve the difficult stains without any effort on your side.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup Epsom salt
- 1 tbsp dish soap
- 15 drops citrus essential oil
- Spray bottle
- Soft brush
Mix all these ingredients in the spray bottle and shake it well to dissolve the salt. Spray it on the affected surface or pour it down the toilet (works great for cleaning toilets). Leave it for at least half an hour to work its magic and then scrub a little with the brush, to remove the most stubborn dirt. After that just rinse with water and dry to avoid more watermarks.
DIY laundry detergent
Most laundry detergents sold on the market can easily cause a rash on sensitive skin or if you’re allergic to some of the chemical ingredients. And many natural laundry detergents still contain borax, which is not harmful, but it’s also not perfect for everyone. Here’s the greenest laundry detergent alternative you can prepare:
- 3 Castile soap bars
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- ¼ cup of salt
- 20 drops citrus essential oil
First, you need to grate all the Castile soap bars. Then mix all the dry ingredients and make sure they are well mixed. Add the essential oil drops and stir some more, to ensure everything is homogenous. Store the mixture in an airtight container and use 1-2 spoons per load, it’s more than enough. Author bio: Jane Wilson is a mum, a blogger and a marketing executive from Melbourne. She represents the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners, a licensed cleaning company, which provides a wide range of services. She also runs a small blog called Modern Housewives, where she shares all kinds of home improvement and parenting tips.